Published: Sat, December 08, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Here Are the First Pictures from the Mars InSight Probe

Here Are the First Pictures from the Mars InSight Probe

To better hear this bass sound, it's better you bring out your headphones, or your subwoofer, as NASA suggested.

Humans can now hear the haunting, low rumble of wind on Mars for the first time, after NASA's InSight lander captured vibrations from the breeze on the Red Planet, the U.S. space agency said Friday.

NASA announced Friday that it has heard the first-ever "sounds" of wind on Mars. The space agency estimates the wind was blowing between 10 and 15 miles per hour (5 to 7 meters a second) on December 1 when InSight collected the data. This robotic arm will soon come in handy when it's finally time for the spacecraft to deploy its SEIS seismometer and HP3 heat flow probe - "the only instruments ever to be robotically placed on the surface of another planet", notes NASA.

The wind is estimated to be blowing 16 kph to 24 kph. And now, the team behind the mission has turned the first bits of that data into an incredible new soundtrack, which you can hear in a new video, released today (Dec. 7). So, NASA also provided a version of the recording shifted up in pitch, which pulls some of the otherwise-inaudible infrasound into hearing range.

Image from NASA's InSight showing the surface of Mars.

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"Capturing this audio was an unplanned treat", said Bruce Banerdt, the InSight principal investigator at Nasa's lab in Pasadena, California.

"Humans are multisensor people, and now we have two of our sensors turned on with this mission", with both audio and visual data streaming back to Earth, Don Banfield, the science lead for the air pressure sensor, said during the news conference.

The craft's air pressure sensor recorded the winds as well, according to NASA, and that audio is increased by a factor of 100 so that it's audible.

InSight will act as a giant ear on Mars that will measure any sound or pressure fluctuations of the wind, earthquakes, tectonic movement or volcanism. The vehicle arrived on Mars in November, successfully landing after months of travel to the Red Planet. The space agency's Mars 2020 rover will be equipped with two microphones. One has been included specifically to record the sound of a Martian landing for the first time.

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